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Women’s Entrepreneurship in the 21st Century

Women’s Entrepreneurship in the 21st Century

An International Multi-Level Research Analysis

Edited by Kate Lewis, Colette Henry, Elizabeth J. Gatewood and John Watson

Women’s Entrepreneurship in the 21st Century is the fourth in the series of books emanating from the DIANA International Research Network. The volume takes a multi-dimensional approach to coalesce a series of chapters around the central theme: gender and entrepreneurship today and in the future. The chapters span a diverse range of countries, methodologies, and levels of analysis – however, they all seek to contribute to an advancing understanding of women and their engagement with entrepreneurial endeavours.

Chapter 10: Women entrepreneurs’ networking behaviors: perspectives from entrepreneurs and network managers

Claire M. Leitch and Richard T. Harrison

Subjects: business and management, entrepreneurship, gender and management


Networks are considered an essential element in entrepreneurial social processes and have generated an extensive literature (Slotte-Kock and Coviello, 2010). However, less attention has been paid to the process of networking. This is important because the nature of the networks in which entrepreneurs, whether male or female, are embedded, the positions they occupy and the patterns of their relationships in them, will influence their access to significant others and the resources they can yield. How individuals go about developing relationships with others in building networks, how they extend these over time and how they behave in them are critical to determining entrepreneurs’ access to such resources. In the entrepreneurship literature, the discourse on gender, networks and networking in particular has been relatively limited (Watson, 2012; Ibarra, 1993), and only recently has this been explored more fully (Foss, 2010). Specifically, this research has mainly been predicated on the analysis of men and women as distinct, homogeneous groups. In this chapter, therefore, we focus on understanding women’s networking behavior in its own right. We do so by concentrating on the process of networking as it emerges in the context of formal networks. In line with recent research (Lockett et al., 2013), networking from the perspective of both entrepreneurs and network managers is examined.

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